Civil Documents

Civil records have been carefully prepared and preserved in nearly all areas of Austria. Thus, civil documents such as birth, death and marriage certificates are usually available. Some difficulty and delay may be encountered, however, since record keeping functions are decentralized and procedures for obtaining documents and fees assessed vary from area to area.

Until 1939, the various religious communities in Austria were responsible for maintaining civil records. Thus, in order to obtain a record of an event occurring before that year, it is necessary to cite the religious identity of the individual or individuals involved at the time the record was generated, and to provide as much information as possible regarding the location of the church or synagogue to which the family then belonged.

Persons born in Vienna between 1870 and 1939 who had no religious preference or their religious preference is not known may write to the Vienna Municipal Department 35, Immigration, Citizenship and Registry Offices (MA 35), Dresdnerstraße 91, 1200 Vienna, Austria, for birth records or further information (http://www.wien.gv.at/english/history/archives/ancestors.html).

Beginning in August of 1938 (for marriages) and in January of 1939 (for births and death), responsibility for maintaining civil records was transferred to the civil authorities. Documents pertaining to events occurring after these dates must be obtained from Civil Registry office (Standesamt) in the specific city or village. As the city of Vienna has several such offices, information regarding the approximate part of the city in which the event occurred should also be known.

PLEASE NOTE: Since November 2014, the request can be made to any Matriculation Office (“Standesamt”) in Austria.

The federal province of Burgenland is an exception to the rule. In this province alone, civil records have always been maintained by the Civil Registry offices and never by the religious communities.

Regarding current fees, please check with the registrar’s office in your case.

Individuals in the United States may obtain documents by writing directly to the church, synagogue or Civil Registry office (Standesamt) responsible for the record in question. Considerable difficulty may be encountered, however, since many issuing offices have at best limited capability to correspond in English. Another problem is that fees must be paid in Euros, usually in the exact amount assessed.

Please note that many issuing offices have severe backlogs and are able to issue documents only after long delays, especially if the exact date and place of birth, marriage or death is not known. Although most offices will try to expedite requests, delays of two or three months are not unusual.

Important: Information on this page pertains only to areas included in present-day Austria. Many cities and villages previously included in the Austro-Hungarian Empire are now located in Slovenia, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Hungary, Ukraine, Italy, Poland, Romania and Russia. Before taking further action, we suggest that you consult an atlas to determine, if possible, the present sovereignty of the area involved in your request. Information regarding civil documents in other countries may be obtained from the American Embassy in the appropriate capital.